In an interview with Kathimerini, HSBC’s CEO in Greece Steve Banner is upbeat about the prospects of a Greek recovery and says the bank is well positioned to assist local companies in the process.
In contrast to other global banks, HSBC opted to remain in Greece. What led to this decision?
Despite the challenges due to the unfavorable economic environment, Greece is showing the first signs of recovery and HSBC can play a clear role and contribute substantially in this direction. For instance, it was among the global banks that supported Greece’s return to international bond markets last April. HSBC also played an important role in the return of the systemic Greek banks as well as several leading local enterprises to capital markets. On the one hand, we are in the position to support Greek enterprises in their expansion abroad and, on the other, we can help Greek companies link up with international trade and international business partners. At the same time, HSBC is also in a favorable position to support international companies interested in investing in Greece. In addition, the bank continues to offer its 100,000 retail banking clients access to a broad array of investment services, using its international strength, experience and know-how.
What are your plans for the Greek market and what sectors are you interested in?
We offer a broad range of banking services in Greece but, as a global bank, we follow a more focused strategy, seeking to be the best wherever we have chosen to have a strategic presence. HSBC’s wholesale banking team provides a full range of financial services to companies, focusing particularly on businesses with an international orientation. In retail banking, HSBC is considered a specialist in wealth management. We focus our attention on the provision of individualized solutions through the Premier and Advance global services and we will continue in this direction, giving our clients multiple investment options.
Additionally, we recently began being more active as regards lending solutions to our private clients, mainly focusing on mortgages, but we have also increased the range of our lending services. Another sector we focus on is maritime financing, which was also the original reason for establishing a presence in Greece. We offer a broad range of financial services to maritime companies and this sector will be of key importance to us in future.